Food Skills Expert

Monday, December 5, 2011

Research concluded

Re: Food Skills Rating Checklist has now been tested by YOU! 

This research has now been collected and is now in the process of being analysed as part of my submission of a PhD thesis titled 'Food Skills in Secondary Schools'.

For those of you who are new to this blog, over 40 home economics teachers, nutritionists, community health workers and academics both here in Australia and overseas took part in the testing of the Food Skills Rating Checklist.

Thank you to all those respondents who contributed to the research project.
As followers of this blog know, I am currently undertaking a PhD thesis evaluating food skills in Victorian secondary schools at the School of Health Sciences, University of Wollongong.

As part of my research project in Study 3, I developed a Food Skills Rating Checklist that would be used by teachers to assess their students' food skills.
The aim of the project was to identify the Checklist’s ease of use and value to teachers in the classroom.  See the results of the findings in the latest blog.
If you are new to this Blog - you are welcome to view the test Food Skills Rating Checklist in its current form.
To access the links to this research - please follow the instructions below

Please note that I am in the process of upgrading the Food Skills Rating Checklist based on the research findings.

1.       When you click on the links to the word documents listed below, please save the document first onto your computer rather than opening and working on it. This prevents the document corrupting and you losing information.
2.       The videos will download automatically and you can stop and start whenever you like.
3.       Download, save and read the Instructions for Previewing the Food Skills Rating Checklist first – please open in numerical order
 1. The Instructions for Previewing Food Skills Rating Checklist is
2.  Test Recipe
3.  Food Skills Rating Checklist
Food Skills Rating Checklist
Food Skills Rating Checklist
 4.  Video X

5. Evaluation Checklist

For Mac users, you are now able to view the videos

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

PhD Submitted

My thesis has been submitted and is now under examination. Yay!
There is still work to be done and lots of opportunities coming up to apply my research in consultancy roles and pro bono work with my state, national and international affiliations with Home Economics Victoria, HEIA and the International Federation for Home Economics.

Getting things done or 'Combining work, family and post-graduate work ' - here we're talking about work life balance!


I came across this brilliant gem The Thesis Whisperer created and maintained by RMIT lecturer Dr Inger Mewburn.
Topics such as 'How to Win The Three Minute Thesis", 'Write that journal article in 7 days' and more

Here's more...

The Thesis Whisperer is a  ‘newspaper’ dedicated to the topic of doing a thesis. 
Newspapers need more than one journalist so we are looking for collaborators! Would you like to write for the Whisperer? Here’s what we want to do:
We want to be concise. PhD students have to do a lot of reading so no posts will be longer than 1000 words
We want to learn from people’s stories about doing a research degree – but we don’t need to hear about your topic. There’s enough journals out there for that.
We are not a ‘how to’ guide to doing a thesis, but we are happy to dish out practical tips and techniques that work for us.
We don’t want to just talk about writing – successfully finishing a thesis or disseration is about more than that. But we don’t want to be sued, so we are going to always keep it nice.
We want to stimulate conversations so our posts will always be opinionated, hopefully without being obnoxious.
We want to hear your voice. Doing a thesis can take the fun out of anyone’s writing. This is a place you can relax because there is no examiner watching.


One of my latest favourite top tips from The Thesis Whisperer is finding out about the time managment app 'Pomodoro' - available for  for free at your local App Store.
It sets a 25 minute countdown for you to focus on one task for this time. It's achievable and purposeful - set your self a doable task. It might be something as simple as updating your database alerts, refining a paragraph or two of your latest journal article edit or re-formatting a table ...I have achieved all these tasks with the help of my trusty timekeeping tomato!

Read more about the Pomodoro Technique - time management technique

And on the topic of success I came across Heidi Grant Halvorson's blog - she outlines the Nine Things Successful People Do Differently. (Click on this link to find out more...)

Keeping on track and in the highly focused zone, mindfulness can assist us with keeping focused.
We have been fortunate here at school to have the opportunity to partake in an 8 week Mindfulness training program under Monash University's Dr Craig Hassad.

What is Mindfulness? ..find out more from
Jon Kabat-Zinn (né Kabat) (born June 5, 1944) who is Professor of Medicine Emeritus and founding director of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

And a longer presentation (1 hour) to Google employees

Mindful Eating
..and Kirsty Costa from Vegematarian writes in her latest posting about Mindful Eating.
Invest the time to enjoy your food- eat mindfully and invest the same time it takes to produce your meal to enjoy eating it...preferably with family and friends!
Kirsty includes this link to the Centre of Mindful Eating ...visit her blog to read more.

In the latest posting in The Thesis Whisperer, Dr Inger Mewburn included some useful information from PhD researcher Ted Vickey,  at the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) at the National University of Ireland at Galway (NUIG) whose research involves physical activity and how mobile technologies can increase exercise adherence.
In this posting, Ted Vickey outlines how he uses his IPAD to screen read and peruse journal articles (via Good Reader) as leisurely bedtime reading!
He also discusses some uses of Dropbox , an app that saves your documents and then automatically sychronises them with your pc.
I have used Dropbox successfully and would recommend it as a good way of saving documents on the run or as a backup, as you would a USB stick.
Ted Vickey also uses Iannotate 'that turns your iPad into a world-class productivity tool for reading, annotating, organizing, and sending PDF files. Join the 100,000s of users who turn to iAnnotate for their PDF annotating needs'.
I haven't used this app but you are welcome to have a sandpit play yourself and let me know what you think.
I am still having a sandpit play with Evernote a file manager and a mind map tool, image keeper all-in-one... 
Kudos: For more information visit the latest posting on The Thesis Whisperer

For those of you are environmentally conscious (aren't we all?), you can even go green with your stationery items - visit Go Green Solutions. Thank you to Kirsty from Vegematarian who recommends the eco-stapler ($6-50) and the text pencil highlighter ($3-95)  (that never dries out)!

Friday, August 5, 2011

What's News in Food? ... Slimkicker

Introducing Slimkicker ....Keep tabs on your diet  and stay motivated with this free app. Lots of ideas and games to play to keep you on track ...and have fun along the way

Visit to find out more

After attending two demonstrations, I have purchased one of these extraordinary kitchen machines. I was at the point of purchasing a new food processor but decided to invest instead in a Thermomix,
Originally invented by a German company Vorwerk for the Italian market, the Thermomix is a food processor, cake mixer and cook top all in one...

Taken from the web site...

The product of more than 40 years of German design and innovation, Thermomix unites the functions of over 10 appliances in one compact unit. Thermomix will amaze you with its ability to chop, beat, mix, whip, grind, knead, mince, grate, juice, blend, heat, stir, steam and weigh food.

No wonder it has earned the title – the world’s smallest, smartest kitchen!

So where do I find out more? Contact Thermomix Australia for a free demonstration. The appliance is sold through a demonstrator. With sales increasing, the company is recruiting!
Read an objective review from Choice magazine - summarised below...

CHOICE Verdict 

The Thermomix is built to last; we would give it five stars except for its hefty price tag, although staggered payment options are available. It’s great for a busy family or a less experienced cook. It also saves time, as you can set the timer and be free to get on with other tasks, and allows for healthier cooking through its strong emphasis on using fresh ingredients.

My views are shared with Choice blogger John Bloomfield....

Bloomfield's opinion:
8 MONTHS AGO | After reading the Choice review, I arranged a demonstration and was impressed enough to buy one. I have had it for about a week now and have really enjoyed using it. It doesn't do everything, and some things are better done in other ways, but it is tremendously versatile, robust and has the best safety features I've seen on a kitchen machine. The one thing it does that does not seem to be replicated by any other appliance is that it stirs while it cooks, meaning that it can make brilliant custards and the like.

As for the cost, it really depends on whether you can afford it or not. Assuming it continues to do what it says it does, I think it is reasonable value for what it does (and the opportunity to clear a lot of other machines out of the kitchen). There is also a fair bit of support during the delivery and afterwards. That said, it's not an essential appliance like a fridge and I wouldn't recommend it to someone for whom the outlay is going to cause a great deal of financial pain.

To find out recipes and more visit Forum Thermomix
I have also enjoyed the Full Little Tummies blog for more thermomix recipe ideas - I especially remember my mother's Australian style Chow Mein and here it's recreated here a la Thermomix!
Touche. John!

Add some va va voom to your vegetarian diet....for those of you who are vegetarians or those of you who would like to explore, extend and enrich your omnivorous diet  by including more environmentally and health friendly vegetarian recipes then Vegematarian is the web site for you!

Vegematarian is an informative web site that will certainly extend your vegetarian repertoire.  Focusing on home grown, eco-friendly produce, Kirsty has put together some lovely and lively recipes together...quite different from the regular run of the mill vegetarian recipes you usually come across. 

Taken from the Vegematarian web site ....Vegematarian is an online recipe book that explores dairy and gluten free vegetarian recipes. There is also a focus on low acidic and high alkaline foods.
If you'd like to contribute, please email Kirsty at :-)

In her latest posting Kirsty includes a great additive free recipe for Taco Seasoning for those of you who enjoy Mexican food. Thank you!

Eat right for your (blood) type - Dr D'Adamo
I am normally sceptical about advocates of 'alternative' diet suggestions but this one just might be worth looking at and exploring I have done.
If you know your blood type (and the easiest way to find out is to become a blood donor. Visit for more information and make an appointment) then you can also find out the foods that are beneficial or neutral to you or what foods that are best avoided. 

For example as an O+ blood group type, I originated as a hunter gatherer and therefore thrive on a high protein diet based on meat and fish and vegetables. However, it is best that I leave the dairy to the vegetarians of the tribe - the A Blood group type.

Dr D'Adamo also describes your somatotype origins and provides information about lifestyle preferences that support your blood type. As an O Blood group type, my body responds well to physical cardiac exercise (which is why I have responded so well to running in the last 6 months) especially during times of stress or chocolate craving (go for a run instead!).

Find out more and judge for yourself at
There is also an I-Phone or I-Pad app available for AUS $4-49 that you can download from the App Store. This means that you can carry around this portable information when you go shopping for food.
There are also family shopping  lists that sychronises food items if family members' blood types are different to your own.

Enneagram Institute Personality Test - Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson
And whilst we are on the subject of finding out more about yourself, another interesting site that I came across the other day which also intrigued me is The Enneagram Institute

Identify your personality type - are you a 'reformer', a 'challenger' or a 'peacemaker'?
There are nine different types - you can undertake a 10 minute free online test to determine your type.
You can find out what motivates you, your outlook on life and how you are affected by other personality types that you live or work with.
Evidence-based research supports the claims made - find out more how the tests have been validated by the research at

Sunday, July 10, 2011

What's happening in Home Economics?

Home Economics Advocacy
Leading the charge for a return to a dedicated undergraduate teacher training on behalf of the Larnook Ex-Students' Association are Beth Cochrane and Judy Snodgrass.  Judy and Beth, two outstanding home economists, have composed the following letter which can be found at the following word press link

Blogging in Home Economics Education
Leanne Compton, colleague and The Food Book author, has showcased her home economics and ICT expertise by creating "The Home Economics Blog". This is an informative and resource wealthy site that navigates easily and is full of interactive and innovative ideas for home economics teachers teaching in health and human development, ICT and junior and senior food skills classes.
It is highly recommended.
You can also follow Leanne on Twitter - @lealc for even more information

Sunday, July 3, 2011

What's happening in Food Skills

New Cooking Skills Program - City University, London
From Penelope Beatty Queensland Health

City University London researchers are calling for more government support for initiatives aimed at improving cooking skills across the UK, after a recent study in Liverpool demonstrated the powerful impact cooking skills can have on promoting healthy eating and lifestyles. Visit 

Need for Feed - is a new community cooking program from Diabetes Australia Queesnland designed for young people who may not be able to access food skills programs traditionally taught in home economics classes. The classes are held in schools on weekends, after school or during the school holidays and are facilitated by trained teachers or health professionals.
For more information contact Health Promotions Officer, Rachel Latimore on
Phone (07) 3506 0948 or email

For the web site visit 

 Family Food Patch - a new initiaive from Tasmanian Food Security Council

Taken from the web site

Family Food PATCH (FFP) aims to improve the health and wellbeing of Tasmanian children through peer education. The program focuses on developing personal skills, creating supportive environments and strengthening community action.

“It’s basically a peer education program giving volunteer parents and community members the
skills to speak with other parents about physical activity and nutritional concerns.”

Volunteers are usually parents, but may also include local community/health workers who work with families or children such as teacher’s aides, family day care workers, child health nurses and community house coordinators.

“The training runs for a total of 25 hours, with sessions conducted one day per week for 5 weeks on nutrition and physical activity for children as well as communication skills and community action.”

Once trained, the Family Food Educators (FFEs) are encouraged and supported by the FFP Officer and their local dietitian to spread the message about healthy eating and physical activity to children and families in the community.

Visit for more information

Food Glorious Food...the other side of the dinner plate

'For most of us, food is available whenever we want. For dinner, we open our
fridge, select an array of nutritious and delicious foods (hopefully from a few of
the healthy food groups) and prepare a bountiful meal. If we’re lucky, someone
else has even prepared the meal for us and neither option is going to send
us broke. In Australia, good food is readily available. It’s relatively cheap and
easy to access—simply head to your nearest supermarket or local takeaway.
Thanks to sound economic policies and successful agricultural production, the
majority of Australians would be described as ‘food secure’. Many poor people
in developing countries are not. Many can’t afford the food they need because
they don’t earn enough and the food they can afford is often of insufficient
nutritional value. A lot of farmers in developing countries can’t grow enough
to feed their families let alone access the markets where they could sell
surplus crops to make a living. The Australian Government is working to make
people in developing countries more food secure. While providing emergency
food assistance to prevent the poorest from going hungry, the Australian
Government is also working to improve livelihoods, access to markets, and
agricultural production through research."   p. 9 FOCUS June - Sept 2011

FOCUS is AusAID's (Australia's Aid Organisation) magazine - this quarter focuses on food security and highlights how AusAID is supporting food and agricultural projects around the globe.  Download this quarter's Focus magazine here.

And have you heard about 'the girl effect' ?? You look after the look after the family...the community ...and the world...

c policies and

From Penelope Beatty , Senior Nutritionist at Queensland Health sent through this encouraging news via the Food Literacy Network
More cooks – More than two thirds of Australians are now saying they love to cook, compared to last year when less than half of Aussies said they loved to cook, according to a report by the vegetable industry.

3. From Donna Pendergast, Griffiths University and Yvonne Dewhurst, Aberdeen University invite home economics educators and other health professionals working in food and nutrition to participate in a survey on food literacy by 22nd July 2011.
The survey aims to to find positive ways to change the perception of home economcs in the curriculum and to look at the role of Home Economics in developing food literacy in students.
The survey will take about 5-10 minutes to complete and the link can be find at
A background article on Bring back home economics can be read 
You can contact me if you would like the full article as I am unable to upload a pdf document on to this blog or at wordpress.
The authors Ludwig and Lichtenstein are medical doctors and the article was recently published in a first class peer reviewed journal American Medical Association May 12, 2010, Volume 303 No 18 pp 1857-1858.
This alone is a fantastic plug for home economics - to be published in a reputable journal such as JAMA and authored by academics outside our field are worth millions to helping us to validate our credibility as experts.
As home economics professionals we help everyday individuals to develop their food skills which ultimately leads them to live healthier lives and minimise their risks of developing obesity. 
We help deal with the obesity crisis better than most as we help people in practical ways such as teaching everyday people how to plan. shop and cook tasty meals for themselves and their families.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Fitness Fun or Energy Output = Energy Input

Getting into Running...
with the opportunity to maintain some level of fitness over the Winter term break, I have embarked on running. Initially inspired by my half-marathon running husband Jan and then by my ultra-marathon, clarinet playing colleague and friend Julia Thorn, I joined a Saturday morning run group located at the bayside suburb of Brighton.  There I met an inspirational couple Sue and Andrew O'Brien who run the group as Lululemon Ambassadors and have a marvellous story of their own. Known as the 'couple on the run' they generously share their story of how running together has brought them closer together and have helped them both achieve wonderful success in their personal and professional lives.
As someone who has ventured down the PhD track and succeeded, Andrew has shared some useful tips to help keep me inspired not just to run but to also keep me on track with a PhD personal vision of my own..(hard work and slog ...and early morning starts when the house is quiet)
Read more about their story and some great top tips to start you own roadway to running... 

Benefits of running we all know about it - fitness, stamina and blowing your blues away
Staying motivated is also a factor so joining a running group can also keep you on track too!
Here is our regular Saturday morning running group (I'm at the back waving and wearing a cap)

From Sports Nutritionist Anne Ryan , read up more about how best you can prepare nutritionally for your next bike race

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Perfect for winter - dishes from The Taste of the Tour de France

Great winter recipes with a taste of France can be had at Taste de Tour de France. If you enjoy cycling and following those wonderful athletes as they hurtle through the Pyranees, the added bonus is viewing one of my favourite chefs, Gabriel Gate celebrate and create the regional dishes of his motherland as the Tour de France progresses.

I was planning to make Gabriel's Rabbit Stew but Richard, my friendly butcher, was selling veal shanks today for $11.99 a kilo (his fresh wild rabbits were $13.99 each) so I have substituted the rabbit for the veal but everything else kept the same!
I have the shanks marinating overnight and I will slow cook them up on Sunday and enjoy with cous cous and rocket salad - with family and good friend, Mira (over a glass of big Rutherglen red, I think)

Visit the Food Book Blog at for the recipe

Here's a photo to whet your appetite

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Fun Stuff - for making life easier for food skillists


An ICT expert friend sent me through this great culinary tool guide - scroll over the tool and it zooms right in

One of the best freebie downloads is the dietary analysis program Food Choices
Anyone can download this interactive program - use the case study "Abby" to help you orientate your way through the tabs. You need to roughly know your weight, height and level of activity to help you work out your energy input and output.
Food skills experts and health professionals will be keen to know that this version contains the new NRVs (that's Nutrient Reference Values)
We use it all the time in schools - for a nominal subscription the package comes with a comprehensive array of learning activities that are designed for use by young people in food skills and physical education classes.

Best recipe and food web sites
Visit this site for a cultural oasis - includes recipes, a comprehensive Glossary, Food Art guide (including video footage of how to make turkish delight, zucchini flowers and many other gastronomics delights) , In season (seasonal fruits and vegetables - how to buy, prepare and store them), Ask the Chef (ask delightful and charming Gabriel Gate all your food skills questions), occasions (from all around the world, including Dutch-Indonesian Rijstafel, Greek Easter, St Patrick's Day), Restaurants (reviews, contact details) and access to all your favourite food programs on SBS.

2. For those of you who have an I-Pad or I-Phone remember to download a free version of the ABC Foodi app - this includes all your favourite enticing recipes including colour-laden images.
My other favourite free foodie apps includes Epicurious- the cooks companion, is US-based which means that you either have to be a baby-boomer or understand imperial measurements to make sense of the ingredient quantities (but you can go to Metric and oven temperature calculator for cooks at Taste) or you can buy the Taste app for AUS $1-19

3. Taste is one of the best Australian sites for all your favourite recipes.  Like the Sbs Food site all its recipes are in metric measures and include lots of other useful information, including Special occasion collections (I plan to try the Orange and marmelade roast turkey with cranberry stuffing for my Christmas in July next Saturday, 2 July. Other features include Menu plans, How to (what's in season, cooking tips, ingredients), Cuisine (recipes classified under Vegetarian, Desserts, Fish and Seafood).

4. Expecting a guest for dinner who has a food allergy or a dietary tolerance and don't know what to cook? Two useful sites to visit and explore include Betterhealth - visit the Healthy Living section and then healthy recipes. Scroll down the page to select the dietary variation.
Go for your life provides a wealth of information for healthy and happy family living - for family members of all ages - kids, teenagers, new parents and adults and older adults. Tip sheets are available in a selection of community languages including Arabic, Chinese, Greek, Italian and Vietnamese.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Entertaining Mathematically

Teaching food skills is also a wonderful way of showcasing other life skills - mathematics!
Young people, especially those who may lack an aptitude for mathematics, seldom see the connection of how mathematics operates in our everyday lives.
In my junior year 7 food skills classes, we discussed how isosceles traingles are used when we make spinach and cheese triangles.  This was a great way of combining geometric and food skills - encasing a spinach and cheese filling in filo pastry by folding it into a rectangle and then into a triangle!
Click on to access the lesson and the recipe!

Our next lesson was producing Savoury Pinwheels using a scone dough encased with a tomato salsa, capsicum and champignon filling as a way of learning about rectangles! Visit  

Monday, May 30, 2011

What's News in Food...from Launceston and Hobart, Tasmania and back to Parkdale, Melbourne

Parkdale, Melbourne - Friday 15th July
Enjoyed a delicious French luncheon with Julie and Alison at another world's best secret at Ficelle Restaurant- 2 courses entree and mains for $15-95! As an example, I enjoyed the snails in a creamy tomato, wild mushroom and mustard seeds followed by home made gnocchi with mushrooms and chicken accompanied by a Yarra Valley Rose - we all enjoyed coffee after.
So 2- course luncheon for three ladies including wine and coffee for under $90-00. Hats off to chef and owner - Thierry Lelivre!
Where is it? 196 Como Pde West Parkdale, 3195 p. 9587 4422

Tasmania Culinary Treats (5th- 9th July, 2011)
On a recent sojourn to Tasmania, Jan and I were delighted to explore the culinary delights of the local fresh food, beer and wine produce. Minimal food miles here and the quality of the fresh food produce is second to none!
Paltry offerings, however, when we arrived 6-30am Tuesday in Devonport on the Spirit of Tasmania  led us (of all places) to McDonalds - seemingly the only place in town with an inviting hub-bub and the promise of something warm. I had always pooh-poohed the idea of McDs but my son Alexander had always recommended the Bacon and Egg Mc Muffin, which was surprisingly good. A fresh muffin, freshly cooked egg and real bacon accompanied with a strong, flavousome, cafe au lait, Jan and I were set for the day- and for under $10-00 for two.
So have a re-think next time you're in Devonport, Melbourne Tullamarine, Paris CdG or Amsterdam Schiphol, NY JFK - you can be guaranteed of a sustaining, economical and reliable breakfast!

The offerings certainly improved from there - culinary treats awaited in Launceston, a pretty town on the mouth of the Tamar River on the north coast of Tasmania: a town that prides itself on local quality food and wine (beer and cider) produce.
At the end of the Cataract Gorge, Jan and I enjoyed a fine evening meal at The Gorge Restaurant (Phone 6331 3330) - 3 delicious courses for $41.90

Jan enjoyed Caramelised Smoked Quail with Hazelnut and Orange Salad with Raspberry Dressing, Ocean Trout with Shitake Ragout, Prosciutto and a Red Wine Vinegarette for mains and followed by Duo of Brulee served with Almond Bread and Double Cream.
I enjoyed a delicious Creamy Seafood Chowder, Venison Shank served with Parsnip and Roasted Garlic Mash and followed by Flourless Banana Pudding with Rich Toffee Sauce.
This was accompanied by a local Pinot Noir - of which Tasmania is famous!
A brisk 15 minute walk home along the Cataract Gorge certainly helped to minimise those extra kJs!

and from Hobart...
not exactly about food but no visit to Hobart is complete without a visit to MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), an incredible surreal journey that will take you from Egyptian mummies to the Porsche Carrera Fat Car.  

As a handmaiden entombed in her Pharaoh's tomb in another time and place, it was painstakingly chilling to pick my way across the 8 hopscotch white marble stones surmounted on an inky black limpid pool to reach the Coffin and Mummy's tomb of Pausiris - the mood was set to recreate a darkened sombre Mummy's tomb with the drip drip of water and Andres Serrano's (of Piss Christ fame) The Morgue as a stark backdrop.  My recommendation - do not attemp if you are in any way claustrophobic!

You could describe the inspirational MONA as Salvadore Dali's Pubol Castle meets British Museum.

And finally, Salamanca place on a chilly Saturday morning - great Farmer's Market food with fresh, fresh produce...

That's Jan standing against the fresh fruit and vegetable stalls - note the Dutch tri-kleurige flag!

Note: original purple carrots

Famous Tasmanian Apples - Royal Galas

Ashbolt Farm Produce really appealed to me with its Elderberry Concentrate, Olive oils Cordials.  I enjoyed a warming Elderberry Tea served with ginger and lemon - am still enjoying it at home after purchasing a sample of the supplies after returning home to Melbourne on a chilly Sunday morning.
Tonight I plan to use the Black Elderberry Concerntrate to baste a roast beef topside for dinner...

To be sung to the tune of Abba's 'Thank you for the music'

Thank you for the food skills, the food I’m making
Thanks for all the joy I’m creating
Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty
What would life be?
Without good food, what would we be?
So I say thank you for the food skills
For giving it to me.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Food and Nutrition Gurus

Read more at;

This easy-to-navigate site provides some useful top food and nutrition tips from Australian dietitians associated with Health Management  It is user friendly and provides consumers with food information they really want to know. Thank you .....

Academic Mentor

Professor Tony Worsley is Sandra's Academic mentor and PhD Supervisor
Position Chair in Behavioural Nutrition 
Area School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences 
Phone +61 3 924 46743 
Campus Burwood 

Tony Worsley is Professor of Public Health Nutrition in the School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences. His background is in psychology, particularly health psychology and behavioural epidemiology. He has held prior appointments at the University of Adelaide where he was Professor of Public Health, the CSIRO Division of Human Nutrition (Head of the Food Policy Research Unit), the Australian National University’s National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, and Otago University (New Zealand) where he was Professor in Social Nutrition. Between 2000 and 2004 he was a Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) Scientific Fellow. He has wide experience in the evaluation of public health nutrition programs, and in the promotion and maintenance of behaviour change. His current research involves several overlapping areas including: behavioural and nutritional epidemiology, studies of products at the food-drug interface, food and nutrition policy research; health and nutrition promotion. He has published widely in scientific and professional journals. He is a co-author of the Body Owner’s Manual, and The Food System.

Academic Advocates for Home Economics
Professor Martin Caraher
Title: Reader in Food and Health Policy
Room: C310
Tel: +44 (0)20 7040 4161

Martin is Reader in food and health policy at the dept of Health Management and Food Policy at City University. He originally trained as an environmental health officer in Dublin. After working in the north west of Ireland he developed an interest in the public health and health promotion aspects of the work. He completed his masters and doctorate in London, since 1990 he has been working with Prof Tim Lang on aspects of food policy.
He has worked extensively on issues related to food poverty, cooking skills, local sustainable food supplies, the role of markets and co-ops in promoting health, farmers markets, food deserts & food access, retail concentration and globalisation.
He is a regular and well-regarded key note speaker and conference presenter at home economics conferences throughout the world.

Sandra and Martin at the Home Economics Institute of Australia's Conference Dinner held in Darwin, Australia in July 2009

Home Economists working as Academics

Dr Janet Reynolds
Her background in home economics includes teaching and working as  a consultant to the governments of Papua New Guinea, Fiji and Sri Lanka in setting up home economics and lecturing at Queensland University of Technology.  A Principal Executive Officer with Education Queensland, Jan has a Masters in Education Studies and her PhD focused on school based nutrition education.
A Fellow of HEIA Jan has held positions of President, Treasurer and Convenor of the Education Standing Committee. Recently, Jan has edited the book Nutrition the Inside Story worked with Xyris Software to manage the revision of Food Choices and written the HEIA's position paper: Home Economics Education and the Australian Curriculum.

Dr Donna Pendergast

Professor Donna Pendergast has an active research profile.  She has recently conducted research in the following areas:  middle years education; middle schooling; early years  education; school and policy reform and evaluation; Year 7 into secondary; resilience; generational theory ; Y and Z generations and pedagogy; teacher efficacy; family and consumer sciences research; home economics philosophy; cyberbullying; mentoring; evaluation of professional development processes; food literacy; gifted and talented students.
She has published widely, including her edited book "Teaching Middle Years" which has been selected as a Choice Outstanding Academic Title. This year her book "The Millennial Adolescent" that focuses on teaching Y Generation students was released. Donna conducts professional development for teachers.
Read more about what Donna has to say about Food literacy and the links with childhood obesity

Academic bloggers

Dr Johannes Brug recently visited the International Society of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity Conference held in Melbourne, June 13-18th June. Read more about Johannes' views on the conference and latest nutrition research at

My Favourite Home Economists
James McIntosh is a really switched on home economist who shares my philosophy on food skills. He's a firm believer that anyone can cook a great family dinner costing less than AUS$10 using everyday groceries.
He shared this marvellous quip with me (and several hundred others..) but it's a great line that sums up our home economics expertise and I would like to share it with you

"You wouldn't call an engineer a mechanic, why would you call a home economist a cook?"

In my interview with James for my first PhD study he shared the following ...

..On kitchen gadgets and troubleshooting

...and if you teach kids how to cook using gadgets such as portable electric grills you are teaching kids how to reheat not to cook. You also need to teach students about kitchen gadgets and appliances- for example teach them that a food processor is not an appropriate equipment to make a sponge because the air inlet is small. And troubleshooting- so that consumers know why their pastry is tough because they have added too much water, or they have over whipped their egg whites . And I try and talk about it in a very funky way but applied to everyday life.

On practice and motivation
...if food is taught as an enjoyable thing then practice will come. Practice is essential- you can do well the first time but you can do better the next time. It’s like learning to drive – practice brings speed, competence and ongoing motivation.

Did you know that you can buy James' Whisk App for $5-99 via I-Tunes? I love the "shake your I-Pad or I-Phone" to come up with a recipe idea for that exact time of the day.
So if you're running out of ideas and want to solve the "What shall we have for dinner?" then this App is for you!! Visit

Jay Deagon

Is a home economist undertaking a PhD with Dr Donna Pendergast at Griffiths University.
Jay has created a great web site that aims to connect home economists from around the world.
I love Jay's 'About The Research' philosophy.
I do recommend you to visit this site and consider joining up to share the joy and latest research in home economics!!
And thank you to James McIntosh for connecting us.

Fred - the WEBER BBQ Meister

Visit my brother-in-law's wiki web site at (you can translate it from Dutch into English using Google Translator) and find out all there is to know about cooking on the Weber!!
Here is a photo of Fred's delicious wares taken when we were on our holiday in Limburg in May 2008..

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Food Book

The Food Book is co-authored by me and two inspiring home economics educators - Leanne Compton and Anne Prescott.

Sandra and Lea at The Food Book launch

This great new book is an award-winning food skills and recipe book designed to take young people from school to home and beyond....
The food skills section in the book was based on my PhD research.


and download a flyer

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Latest publication

So what are the essential food skills required by young people (and food skills students) to live healthy independent lives?
Here is the summarised version but you can read the whole article if you click on the links below!

Fifty-one food experts (home economics educators, chefs, dietitians, nutritionists, homemakers and independent young people, community health workers) were interviewed  to determine what these food skills are.
The top twelve essential food skills are
ü  Consumer knowledge, information and skills
ü  Hygiene and Safety knowledge and skills
ü  Meal knowledge and skills
ü  Nutritional Health knowledge
ü  Cookery Methods knowledge
ü  Equipment knowledge
ü  Food exposure knowledge
ü  Seasonal Produce knowledge
ü  Troubleshooting knowledge
ü  Sources information
ü  Terminology information
ü  Skills acquisition

Here is the link to the Abstract in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behaviour
Please email me for the full text article (PDF) or visit for the Word version